Obese, well fed, and starving hens in the same flock?

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
16,113
55,585
1,207
My Coop
My Coop
Hi! :frow

I'm stumped. I have somewhere around 12 hens.... I think (lost too many to count)
Yesterday I noticed an EE, who is in heavy molt, looked skinny from afar. When I checked her out she had very poor body condition. I could sharply feel her keel and her ribs. Her crop was empty.
I separated her for a day with food and water.
I have an elderly hen who is very obese. She gets around slow.
Checks on the other hens which revealed 2 mildly obese hens, and most well fed.
The other EE, with an unexplained limp, is also skinny.
All 3 Leghorns are either obese or on the high end of well fed. My JG are in good body condition, my incessant fake broody is just fine.
The separated EE didn't eat anything at all and barely drank. But put back outside she devoured grass.
So in total
3 obese (2 Leghorns)
Most well fed
2 starving (EE)

I am feeding Naturwise 18% layer as of 4 days ago. Previously fed 16% Naturewise layer.
All free range every day.
I have a 5gal feeder always with feed and 2 small dishes that also hold feed to reduce competition.

Am I doing something wrong? Is there bullying? What could be going on?

TIA,
Cyprus

P.S only the one EE is molting.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,178
38,226
1,096
southern Michigan
Have a fecal run at your veterinarian's, in case there's an intestinal parasite issue. Any parasite problem will affect some individuals way more than others!
How old are your hens? Reproductive issues can hit early, and definitely happen as they age.
Add at least one more feeder, and another waterer, far enough apart to prevent bullying!
If one of them is sick, consider having her necropsied for a diagnosis. If you've got something like Marek's disease going on, finding it out will help.
Mary
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
16,113
55,585
1,207
My Coop
My Coop
Have a fecal run at your veterinarian's, in case there's an intestinal parasite issue. Any parasite problem will affect some individuals way more than others!
How old are your hens? Reproductive issues can hit early, and definitely happen as they age.
Add at least one more feeder, and another waterer, far enough apart to prevent bullying!
If one of them is sick, consider having her necropsied for a diagnosis. If you've got something like Marek's disease going on, finding it out will help.
Mary
They range in age from 2.5-4.5 :)
I have a history of Marek's here and so far have two hens who've gone into random limps then recovered but still limp.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,757
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Marek's would account for your skinny birds, especially as one has an unexplained limp..... those are two of the commonest symptoms of Marek's..... wasting and lameness.

Are you sure you have leghorns and not white rocks or RIWs or even Cornish X? Leghorns should be your lightest weight birds. If they really are Leghorns then my question would be.... are they obese or do they have abdominal swelling due to a reproductive disorder or ascites etc? These ailments can linger for a long time before the bird shows any sign of being sick, other than having a bloated belly. Birds generally carry muscle on their breast area. Fat which would indicate they were obese would be deposited around the lower belly and vent, so their breast feeling plump would not indicate obesity. I suppose it is a bit like comparing a body builder who is "big" but has a lot of lean muscle mass, with an overweight person, who is "big" because they are carrying too much fat. Obesity would generally suggest the bird is carrying a lot of fat on their belly.
Perhaps you could clarify what you are seeing as obese?

What form does the feed you are using come in.... ie is it an homogenous pellet or crumble or a grain mix? The latter can certainly lead to some birds becoming obese because they can selectively eat particular components of a grain mix feed and many birds prefer the high carbohydrate grains and corn which gets converted to fat.
 

Cyprus

Master of the 'never give up' attitude
Jan 19, 2018
16,113
55,585
1,207
My Coop
My Coop
Marek's would account for your skinny birds, especially as one has an unexplained limp..... those are two of the commonest symptoms of Marek's..... wasting and lameness.

Are you sure you have leghorns and not white rocks or RIWs or even Cornish X? Leghorns should be your lightest weight birds. If they really are Leghorns then my question would be.... are they obese or do they have abdominal swelling due to a reproductive disorder or ascites etc? These ailments can linger for a long time before the bird shows any sign of being sick, other than having a bloated belly. Birds generally carry muscle on their breast area. Fat which would indicate they were obese would be deposited around the lower belly and vent, so their breast feeling plump would not indicate obesity. I suppose it is a bit like comparing a body builder who is "big" but has a lot of lean muscle mass, with an overweight person, who is "big" because they are carrying too much fat. Obesity would generally suggest the bird is carrying a lot of fat on their belly.
Perhaps you could clarify what you are seeing as obese?

What form does the feed you are using come in.... ie is it an homogenous pellet or crumble or a grain mix? The latter can certainly lead to some birds becoming obese because they can selectively eat particular components of a grain mix feed and many birds prefer the high carbohydrate grains and corn which gets converted to fat.
I definitely have three white leghorns. I've had them their whole lives and would get 3 jumbo white eggs a day :)
Nope, no abdominal swelling or apparent reproductive disorder; all appear just fine and each leghorn still lays.
I was checking their breasts, not bellies. The Leghorns have a lot of muscle on their breasts.
Going off this
1-s2.0-S1094919417301275-gr1.jpg

The Leghorns hit the Keel 3/4 range.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom